The 2021 winners of the Manufacturing Leadership Awards were honored at the 17th annual Manufacturing Leadership Awards Gala, hosted by the National Association of Manufacturers’ Manufacturing Leadership Council. For the second year in a row, the gala took place as a virtual event.

Dow was named the Large Enterprise Manufacturer of the Year for its enterprise-wide digital transformation encompassing manufacturing, logistics, and operations. Hologic was named the Small/Medium Enterprise Manufacturer of the Year for its workforce cultural transformation, which has positioned the company to take advantage of advanced manufacturing technologies such as data analytics, 3D printing, and machine learning.

In a change from tradition, the Manufacturing Leader of the Year award, usually given to an individual operations executive, was bestowed on the medical supply, biomed, and pharmaceutical manufacturing sectors for their efforts in pandemic response and vaccine production. Also honored were all frontline manufacturing workers for their resilience and perseverance in keeping production lines running throughout the pandemic.

“The past year was possibly the most challenging in modern history for manufacturing operations. But we also saw how critical modern manufacturing is to our society and to our quality of life,” said MLC Co-Founder, Vice President, and Executive Director David R. Brousell. “It was impossible to choose just one leader to represent the tremendous efforts put forth by manufacturers throughout the pandemic, but the sense of hope we are experiencing as life returns to normal is very much thanks to the perseverance and tenacity of manufacturers.”

“These awardees represent the heart of the NAM’s mission: honoring American manufacturing and innovation. It’s no surprise that so many of the innovations that helped us develop and manufacture COVID-19 vaccines and treatments are made right here in the United States,” said PhRMA President and CEO Stephen J. Ubl. “We appreciate the NAM recognizing these advances and our PhRMA member companies’ efforts to end the pandemic.”

Another new addition to this year’s awards gala was the Creators Respond Honor Roll, an acknowledgement of all nominations that were directly tied to pandemic response. The companies on that list are:

  • ALOM Technologies
  • Anheuser Busch-InBev
  • Bridge Publications Inc.
  • Dow Inc.
  • Flex
  • IBM
  • Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals
  • Merck and Co., Inc.
  • Roche and Genentech
  • Smithfield Foods

Also announced at the gala were this year’s High Achievers, the projects with the highest scores in each category. Those winners included:

  • Artificial Intelligence and Advanced Analytics Leadership: IBM for Manufacturing Quality Inspection with AI and Edge Computing
  • Collaborative Innovation Leadership: Roche and Genentech for Rapid Technical Transfer
  • Engineering and Production Technology Leadership: Anheuser Busch InBev for Project Segue and General Motors for GM Additive Industrialization Center (tie)
  • Enterprise Integration and Technology Leadership: Dow for Dow Manufacturing 4.0
  • Industrial Internet of Things Leadership: Intertape Polymer Group for Operational Excellence through Digital Transformation
  • Operational Excellence Leadership: Lockheed Martin for Aircraft Optical Network Diagnostic System
  • Supply Chain Leadership: Corning for Corning Global Supply Management Transformation
  • Sustainability Leadership: Owens Corning for Foamular NGX
  • Talent Management Leadership: Hologic for Building a Talent Management System for a 4.0 Medical Device Company in Costa Rica

A complete list of 2021 winners is available at https://mlawards.manufacturingleadershipcouncil.com/2021-winners/.

The 2022 Manufacturing Leadership Awards season will open to nominations on August 16, 2021.